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Why Correcting Your Posture is the Most Important Exercise Ever

03/21/2016, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

What travels with you everywhere? What corrects you incessantly, nagging at you every minute of the day, satisfied only when you give in to its urges once and for all?

It’s not what you think, I promise. 

The only thing you carry around with you every day no matter what’s happening is your posture. How you walk, how you work, how you carry yourself - it all comes back to your posture and how you, well, carry yourself. 

The longer we move around with poor posture, the harder it is to break ourselves of the habit. What causes poor posture

Stress. One of the greatest enemies the parent of an amateur athlete can have is stress. Stress is what makes us hunch over in the bleachers to pull our hair out. The problem is you’re doing more damage to your back and shoulders than to your hairline. 

Work. Anyone else sit at a desk for large portions of the day? Stephanie Roberts, the North Shore Winter Club’s resident massage therapist, says she can tell when people have had particularly long days spent writing or typing. I believe her, so much so that I just adjusted my seat and sat upright. 

Activity. The smallest activities can have large impacts on our posture. How much do you drive? Those of us driving standard transmissions tend to lean in one direction for long periods of time. Therefore, the muscles on that side of our bodies relax while the other side overcompensates. Honestly, it’s amazing we don’t walk around in circles all day. 

I used to get so annoyed with my posture. It’s like, I gotta work to keep myself upright all the time? What am I, a neanderthal? Don’t answer that.

However, once I learned more about the effects of negative energy (cough*accumulated in a hockey rink*cough), I started to notice tangible results by straightening up in normal every day activities. 

What does good posture look like?

Good posture looks like you’re not trying to have good posture. Good posture makes you taller and keeps everything in line so your body can function in complete harmony and balance. Sounds great, right?

Right.

Now, what else can we do to maintain good posture other than walking around like we’ve just been struck by lightning?

1. Balanced Exercise

A certain colleague of mine trains every day like beach season never ends and then he complains all the time about pain in his back. (I don’t think he reads these, but I’ll let you know if he gets back to me.) Bad posture happens because your entire body is naturally lazy. If you can keep muscles all over the place strong and engaged, then your posture will naturally pull itself into alignment and a healthy resting position will become the norm. 

2. Stretching

Again, if one muscle group is overpowering an adjacent group, then you’ll be pulled in that direction, and it gets worse the longer it goes uncorrected. Stretching out your calfs and quads is one thing, but devoting time to an all-over body stretch will make a difference in your day to day life you never thought possible. 

3. Sleeping

It all starts with a good night’s sleep. I’m not enough of a professional to know how separate individuals should position themselves at night (and my google research on the subject returned some results I’d rather not share), so my best advice is to consult a doctor or Stephanie if you think you’re not getting the most out of your sleep. What I can say, however, is that sleeping comfortably allows your body’s melatonin levels to flow more easily, which encourages greater rest throughout your body and mind. 

Want to fix your back? Contact Stephanie Roberts. She'll fix you up good.

Want more info? Check out the excellent resources over at the Physio Company.

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